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Debugging with Xdebug

What is Xdebug?

Xdebug is an extension for PHP, and provides a range of features to improve the PHP development experience.

Step Debugging

A way to step through your code in your IDE or editor while the script is executing.

Improvements to PHP's error reporting

An improved var_dump() function, stack traces for Notices, Warnings, Errors and Exceptions to highlight the code path to the error.

Configure Qlico in your project to use Xdebug

Qlico in "dev" stage (default) supports debugging using Xdebug. You can check if it's enabled with phpinfo(); phpinfo

Make sure that in your qlico/.env file the following values are filled:

PROJECT_NAME=unique-project-name this should be an unique project name, if you have multiple projects with the same name (for example api and frontend) name your projects: project-api and project-frontend. If these names are not unique, you will not be able to debug multiple projects at the same time.

XDEBUG_MODE=develop,debug this setting controls which Xdebug features are enabled. More information about the different modes

XDEBUG_CLIENT_HOST for macOS users this should be: host.docker.internal

If you're running Linux, you can run and copy the output:

ip addr show docker0 | grep "inet\b" | awk '{print $2}' | cut -d/ -f1


Full working example of .env file


Configure your IDE


These instructions also work for IntelliJ IDEA.

Open the Project settings and go to: PHP -> Debug, make sure that the Debug port is: 9003,9000


Next to go: PHP -> Servers

Name: xdebug-example Important: This name MUST match the PROJECT_NAME in your .env file.
Host: localhost
Check: "Use path mappings (select if the server is remote or symlinks are used)", since we're using a "remote" Docker container.
Absolute path on the server: /var/www/html


Click: "Start listening for PHP Debug Connections" (in the Main toolbar)


After you've clicked the button, the "red" light should be "green"

Set a breakpoint somewhere in your code


For more information about breakpoints in PhpStorm, click here.

Open your project in a browser

In my example: Visiting http://xdebug-example.qlico


PhpStorm will automatically open up, with Debug information phpstorm-debug-screen

As you can see at the bottom of the screen: There is a debugger attached.

More information about using Debugging in PhpStorm

Visual Studio Code

To enable debugging in Visual Studio Code, please install the PHP Debug plugin by Xdebug first.

A small note on the plugin: This plugin does not support multiple debugging sessions at the same time. See this GitHub issue for more information: Multiple debugging sessions

After installation, in your project open: .vscode/launch.json

And add the following snippet:

    // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
    // Hover to view descriptions of existing attributes.
    // For more information, visit:
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "hostname": "",
            "port": 9003,
            "pathMappings": {
                "/var/www/html": "${workspaceFolder}"

How to start a debug session

Go to Run: "Start debugging"

Add a breakpoint in VSCode


Open your project in a browser

In my example: Visiting http://xdebug-example.qlico


In Visual Studio Code vscode-debug-screen

As you can see at the left of the screen: There is a debugger attached.

Debugging CLI scripts

If you want to debug a CLI PHP Script, please use the alias: xphp inside the running PHP Container

For example:

docker compose exec php ash

xphp index.php
This is also possible with Symfony and Laravel commands.
# Symfony
xphp bin/console app:command

# Laravel
xphp artisan app:command

It's the same process for PhpStorm and Visual Studio Code, make sure to set it up first. Now PhpStorm or Visual Studio Code will open. By default, the php alias inside Qlico do not have Xdebug enabled, because this can give side effects, for example when running composer install.